Couple wants to sue Ethereum because it can’t get coins

A pair of 3,000 ethers bought it in 2014. But it never claims to have received the key to the wallet. Now the two are raising money to sue Ethereum.

The couple Yuki and Art Williams actually own coins of the digital currency Ether worth 6 million US dollars, which they bought in 2014 during a pre-sale for the introduction of Ethereum. In contrast to many similar stories in which those affected forgot their wallet password and therefore cannot access their coins, some of which are worth millions of US dollars, the couple claims that they have already had problems buying them.

In July 2014, the Ethereum developers needed money to advance their blockchain technology. So they set up a pre-sale on their website The couple reported that they bought 3,000 ethers for 1.5 Bitcoin, valued at $ 932 at the time.

To do this, they created an account with a password and had to download a Json file that should contain the private key to the wallet. There was a problem with this, however: “The instructions were to leave the computer on for an hour and a half and when the progress bar indicated that it was filling up, the Json file would appear,” Art Williams told news channel 7News. “Unfortunately she didn’t show up.”

No json file, no coins

However, according to the online magazine Mashable, there was no such indication of the waiting time, which, for example, a look at the archive version of the Ethereum website shows. The Json file is also a small text file that takes a few seconds to download, even with a poor internet connection.

Also in a tutorial on Youtube that went through the purchase process at the time, there is no such indication – on the contrary, there is a clear, red warning that the Json file should be downloaded before Bitcoin is sent to Ethereum. Only in the next step is the address given to which the coins are to be sent for payment.

So the couple’s story is not entirely conclusive. Nevertheless, Mashable was able to understand that the corresponding wallet with 3,000 ethers exists and that no further coin movements have taken place after the initial setup.

The couple also stated that they could see the wallet but not be able to access it because they lacked the private key to the wallet. A backup copy of the wallet including the Json file, which was actually supposed to be sent by email, was also never received.

Couple wants to sue Ethereum for the release of the Json file

According to Mashable, corresponding comments have been on the Internet since around 2017, three years after the purchase. At this point in time, the couple also claims to have turned to the Swiss-based foundation behind Ethereum and described the case with proof of purchase and screenshots.

Since this did not lead to a solution, a lawyer was called in in 2018 who, after speaking to the foundation, stated that they would make an attempt to restore the Json file. Unsuccessful. A settlement offer for 2,750 ethers by a Swiss arbitration authority also fizzled out, reports 7News.

Finally, the foundation’s legal department wrote: “We continue to believe that Ethereum is not responsible for lost wallets, passwords and private keys.” Now the couple want to sue Ethereum in a Swiss court for the release of the Json file and are crowdfunding US $ 250,000 for the lawsuit. However, it is unlikely that the file is still there – otherwise the foundation would have access to all Ether wallets created at the time.